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Who is pulling wool over whose eyes: The government or the Europeans?

The media has been ‘celebrating’ the two tourism awards bestowed upon Zimbabwe and received by the president himself but there are plenty of questions surrounding this whole “event”. Researching into this European delegation I found out all sorts of doubtful and very embarrassing stuff.

Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu
Rutendo Tapiwa Chigudu

For starters, the website of this organisation is a FREE one. The names behind the organisation are interesting with one Nicolae Nicolae having NO digital footprint whatsoever except being linked to one Nicolae Ceaușescu who was a Romanian leader who was executed in 1989.

The man at the fore of this delegation is none other than one Professor Dr. Anton Caragea. A very larger than life, multi-titled, multi-medal winner, amazing author of 19 books and over 300 articles (which do not appear anywhere online except on the blog of the said professor doctor), a very lively and “highly accomplished individual who has twice “won” the ‘prestigiously dubious’ award of Man of the Year from the American Biographical Institute (ABI).

Wikipedia provides the only other information about this institute and describes it as “a paid-inclusion vanity biographical reference directory publisher” and goes on to state that its awards are frequently denounced as scams by politicians, journalists and others” Again, it is of great interest to note that this seemingly grand institute has no website of its own.

Anyway, the organisation only gives these two awards and has so far given them to five other countries and some scepticism has followed the ceremonies as evidenced by what a Trinidad & Tobago newspaper as well as a travel blog reported.

It is rather interesting to find that one article also mentions “unanimous agreement” to bestow the award upon Trinidad & Tobago, just as it was ‘unanimous’ to bestow it upon Zimbabwe this time around. The comments from the newspaper article back then in 2012 are somewhat similar to those expressed by some readers of our own government mouthpiece, The Herald here.

It appears that Laos received the Best Tourist Destination of 2013, the same award that we have just been given despite us ‘winning’ it before 2014 is even halfway through. Interestingly, timing seems to not be an issue with this organisation because in 2011 Trinidad & Tobago won the Best Tourist Destination for the year 2012… Yes, exactly like that.

And, the then minister of Tourism for T&T was ALSO presented with a medal of Honorary Membership to the organisation just as our own now Dr Mzembi is now a member of this “academic fraternity. It seems as if entry into this academy is by virtue of being minister of Tourism in the country to “win” this award. What is uncanny to read is what this Prof Caragea said of the award to T&T back then, as quoted from The Trinidad Express:

“I can’t go into detail [because of confidentiality], but it has been a good competition and Trinidad and Tobago has been named the winner because of cultural protection, ecological programmes, cultural incentive programmes and blend and mixture of culture.”

Does anyone see what I see there?

Anyway, let me take a quick look at other recipients of this ‘award.’ First was Syria in 2007. The other recipients of this award are Turkey, Laos, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Speaking of UAE, that is some serious tourist destination.

In comparison, Zimbabwe only has 3 hotels that made it onto the Five Star Alliance World’s best hotels list compared to UAE that has 25! South Korea is reported to have won the award in 2010 but there is no trace of this online except on the ECTT site, rather suspicious.

Thomas writes some eerie words on his blog that I shall copy “It looks like the Lao government just fell for the ECTT, mainly because of their desperate need to get good news, and unfortunately many media organisations got fooled as well.

I understand that Lao people are proud of any news about their country, but sometimes it is quite embarrassing. And I also understand that me, the messenger, will blamed by some for the bad news.” These words could be about Zimbabwe at present but they were written on Sunday 12 May 2013!